A bid for an American Rivers softball sweep was derailed by a costly inning and Central College came away with a doubleheader split against Nebraska Wesleyan University Saturday, winning 3-2 before tumbling 9-2.
The Dutch (16-6 overall, 6-2 conference) carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning of the nightcap. But the Prairie Wolves (21-7 overall, 6-2 conference) finally connected against Central hurler Mariah Fritz, who was attempting to muscle her way through both ends of the twinbill. Fritz, who threw 215 pitches on the afternoon, surrendered a game-tying one-out home run. After a single, Fritz got the second out but a walk and an error followed and the gates burst open. Just three of the seven runs off Fritz (10-4) were earned. She threw 5.2 innings and gave up nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Fritz came up big in the opener. After allowing two second-inning runs she blanked the Prairie Wolves the rest of the way. She scattered seven hits over seven innings, walking four and striking out four as she pitched out of trouble several times.
Coe College and Luther College share first place with a 7-1 mark while Central and Nebraska Wesleyan are each a game back, with Wartburg College at 6-4.
The Dutch remain home Tuesday for a league doubleheader with the University of Dubuque. The Spartans are 18-5 overall and 3-5 in the league after a 10-9, 9-4 sweep at Loras College in Dubuque Saturday. Central swept two road games at Dubuque last year, winning 7-6 in nine innings and 9-0 in six innings. The Dutch lead the teams’ all-time series 65-6.